Longtime Whidbey Island, Wash., resident, Margaret (Bell) Loper, 90, died at Ashley Gardens Memory Care in Mount Vernon, Wash., July 6, 2021, with daughters Dianne and Joanne by her side.
She was born at home in Manchester, England in the suburb of Levenshulme on April 28, 1931, to George and Florence Minnie (Fuller) Bell.
George was machinery foreman in a knitting factory and Florence worked at Seiman’s Light and was active in her church. Almost all aspects of Margaret’s early life in Manchester were overshadowed by World War II. “Air raids, sirens, gunfire” and later rationing monopolized the time.
At 14, Margaret began work at a chartered accountants office as a clerk. In her later teen years she enjoyed and taught ballroom dancing. A priority for her when moving to the United States was to become a U.S. citizen, which she did in 1957. She applied her accounting skills throughout her life and travels. Companies she worked for ranged from Slydloks Time and Motion Study Office in Manchester to the Triton Missile Project near Moses Lake, Wash. In Oak Harbor, Wash., she worked at Everett Trust and Savings, the Navy Exchange Service Station and as a Navy Exchange Service Manager. Ending her long working career with a return to England in the role of service operations manager, Navy Exchange, United Kingdom, in 1991. In her retirement years she volunteered with the Red Cross, Oak Harbor Senior Center and helped seniors with their taxes.
Margaret met a handsome sailor while working at the Air Force Service Station in Moses Lake with whom she would spend the rest of her life. Gene and Margaret were married Sept. 28, 1964 in the Methodist Church in Oak Harbor.
Gene’s travels with the Navy would take them across the U.S. and the world settling back in Oak Harbor on July 4, 1968. Upon making their home in Oak Harbor, she became active in the community, becoming a member of the First Reformed Church, Oak Harbor Yacht Club, Emblem Club, Toast Mistresses and Navy Exchange Retired Employees Association. Additionally, she volunteered time and skills where needed. She was always willing to help others.
During their 57 years of marriage, Margaret and Gene traveled with treasured friends and made many more on their numerous adventures around the world and at home in Oak Harbor. They regularly shared stories from their journeys to New Zealand, Australia, Europe, Vietnam, Japan, Iceland, across Canada and the United Kingdom. Many friends and family came to visit and stay at their home in Oak Harbor.
Margaret’s parents, Frank and Florence Hopley and sister Dorothy Bell also made Whidbey Island their home. Margaret will always be immensely missed by her friends and family, but we all cherish the many memories we have.
Margaret is preceded in death by brother George Bell, of Leicester, England.
Margaret is survived by her husband Gene Loper; sister Dorothy Bell, of Coupeville, Wash.; daughter Dianne (Cunningham) Batz and family, of Anacortes, Wash.; daughter Joanne (Cunningham) Parmley and family, of Snohomish; grandsons Michael Batz, Steven Batz, Patrick Batz, Simon Parmley and Ian Parmley; and four great-grandchildren.
A memorial service and fellowship will be held in her memory at 10 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 7 at Wallin-Stucky Funeral Home, 1811 NE 16th Ave., Oak Harbor, Wash., Refreshments to follow.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Hospice of the Northwest, 227 Freeway Drive, Suite A, Mount Vernon, WA 98273 or The Oak Harbor Emblem Club. Condolences may be left in Margaret’s online guestbook at www.wallinfuneralhome.com/memorials/margaret-loper/